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EFI VUTEk 3r, a more productive roll-to-roll UV printer Print E-mail

EFI recently launched the EFI VUTEk 3r, a dedicated roll-to-roll UV printer that replaces the GS3250r.

There is also a 5-meter version of it, the EFI VUTEk 5r, which apparently will replace the GS5000r.

On EFI’s website you will find a section called “Legacy Printers” where the company still features the GS5000r, but by comparing the specs, you can tell the VUTEk 5r is an improved version of the latter.

In this article we list the differences between the EFI VUTEk 3r and its predecessor GS3250r.

EFI VUTEk printer
EFI VUTEk 3r UV-curing printer at ISA 2017.


4 aspects improved in the new EFI VUTEk 3r compared to its predecessor, the EFI VUTEk GS3250r

This new VUTEK 3r has been improved in at least 4 aspects, to make it a better roll-to-roll printer option for high-volume, yet quality environments:

1. Print width: The new EFI VUTEk 3r prints flexible media up to 138 in. (350 cm), which is about 12 in. (30 cm) wider than its predecessor, the GS3250r.

2. Resolution: The VUTEk 3r prints at a max resolution of 1200 dpi. The resolution of the GS3250r depended on the printhead settings: 

  • 600 dpi with the 28 picoliter heads and 
  • 1000 dpi with the 14 picoliter heads.

But we would like to evaluate the EFI VUTEk 3r to figure out whether there is a perceptible difference between 1000 dpi and 1200 dpi.

3. Productivity: The new 3r prints up to 3,715 ft2 per hour (345 m2 per hour). The GS3250r had two modes

  • High-quality: 1,194 ft2 per hour (111 m2 per hour)
  • Production mode: 1,797 ft2 per hour (167 m2 per hour)

4. Colours: The new version comes with CMYK standard, and LC, LM, LK, and White, whereas the old model came with CMYK, standard, and only LC, LM optional.

Having white widens the applications you can produce with a printer, besides backlit POP signage, you can use white to make the other colors pop.

EFI lists the manners of handling white ink as 

  • Overprint
  • Underprint
  • Spot
  • Underspot
  • Fill
  • Overspot

This video explains these options.


EFI does not overpromise when lanunching new printers

10 years ago some Chinese manufacturers used to exhibit unfinished prototypes claiming to produce the highest quality in the market.

But in many cases, the reality proved otherwise. Thankfully, the Chinese printers exhibited at the most recent APPPEXPO show (in Shanghai) look much more finished than the models shown a decade ago.

In North America, Europe and the Middle East, sign shop owners used to like Gandinnovations not only because the printers were indeed impressive, but because they liked the “Gandy experience”.

In their golden years, (2004-2007) the Gandy brothers used to set their trade show booths as cozy and elegant lounges. There was food and drinks for everybody.

If you were a potential customer, you got to be invited to expensive parties. Doing business with Gandinnovations was an extravagant experience.

But history proved that running a business takes more than a great customer service and impressive booths. Especially when the 2008 crisis hit the industry.

The company was bought by Agfa. And the new company, GandyDigital has had only discreet appearances at recent trade shows.

If you are a potential customer for EFI, you might not get invited to parties. And you will not see unfinished printer prototypes.

Instead, you get more than 12 years worth of experience from a printer manufacturer that has been methodical, but consistent in its growth.

In most cases, new printers launched by EFI, are in fact upgraded iterations of their current printers.

This is the case of the new EFI VUTEk 3r, which replaced the GS3250r, which replaced the QS3200.

EFI VUTEk printer
With the EFI VUTEk 3r you can handle two rolls at once.


EFI is well on its way to dominate market share

In 2007, NUR held about 70% market share. Apparently it made sense for HP to buy NUR. By then, the EFI VUTEk brand was only two years old.

But through several years of consistently producing quality printers, EFI has been gaining land, because it focuses on what it does well: wide-format UV-curing printers.

As Gary Vaynerchuk would say, “Once you find what you’re decent at, go all in”.

It wouldn’t be too venturous to say the market share is now dominated by EFI.

Especially now that HP phased out their Scitex XP5300 and Scitex XP2700, and WP Digital is no longer producing their impressive AG Virtu RR50.


FLAAR hopes to evaluate the EFI VUTEk 3r to produce a detailed report on this roll-to-roll UV-curing printer.

Although we have written full reports on UV-curing printers based on information gathered at hectic trade shows (this is the case of the EFI R3225), we prefer to evaluate a printer in its natural ecosystem: 

  1. At a factory/demo room or
  2. At an actual sign shop

This is because a trade show gives you only a high-level overview of the main features, but by visiting the actual factory, you get to see first-hand how the printer is built, how is it tested, and what is the quality of its parts.

We have visited dozens of factories and sign shops around the world, EFI included.

Based on those visits, we have produced several reports on the EFI printers: the Evaluation of the EFI VUTEk GS3200 and the GS5000r.


First published June 2017.



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